Many fashion campaigns are met with controversial reactions, but some lead to outrage and even banning them. Whether they’re too racy, misleading or just inappropriate, many fashion ads have faced restrictions, from billboards to TV.
Check out some of the most controversial banned fashion ads, and decide for yourself if the designers and photographers crossed a line. From anorexia to suicide and rape, some of these fashion campaigns definitely played with the boundaries.
Kiki Willems for YSL
Even though the fashion world has been making progress when it comes to glamorizing unhealthy anorexia, Yves Saint Laurent recently made a mistake.
The ad that features 18 year old Kiki Willems was banned in the U.K. for being “irresponsible” because “the model appeared unhealthily underweight in the image”.
Kylie Minogue for Agent Provocateur
The 2001 Agent Provocateur short “Proof” was banned from being shown in TV in more than one country, but it was considered one of the best cinema advertisements in a U.K. poll. It’s one of the banned fashion ads thanks to its sexual nature, as Kylie seems to be orgasming while she’s riding a mechanical bull, before suggesting all the male viewers were now having an erection.
Hailee Steinfeld for Miu Miu
In 2011, Miu Miu faced criticism for an ad featuring 14 year old actress Haille Steinfeld. The image of the teenager sitting on train tracks wiping tears away from her face. The obvious implication was suicide and the British Advertising Standards Authority decided that it was irresponsible for depicting a child in an unsafe location.
Dakota Fanning for Mark Jacobs
One of the most controversial banned fashion ads featured an 17 year old Dakota Fanning holding an oversize bottle of Mark Jacob’s perfume Oh, Lola between her legs. After complaints about it, U.K.’s ASA decided banned the image for sexualizing children, because Dakota looked younger than 16 years old in the image.
Kate Moss for Rimmel Mascara
Some controversies are based on misleading ads, and supermodel Kate Moss was at the center of the campaign for Rimmel’s mascara. Both the print and TV ads came into question because Moss’ eyelashes looked fake. Because the ad exaggerated the effect of the product in a misleading way, U.K. authorities banned it.
Lara Stone for Calvin Klein
While most banned fashion ads fail to meet the standards in the U.K., Calvin Klein’s Lara Stone ad created a big controversy in Australia. The billboards in Sydney and Melbourne were pulled down after plenty of complaints that argued the campaign featured rape imagery.
Rihanna for Rogue by Rihanna
The singer has been banned from Instagram more than once for posting pictures that included nudity, so it’s no surprise that her perfume ads also tried to push boundaries. Rihanna’s Rogue fragrance ad was considered too “sexually suggestive” by the ASA, and it was banned from places where children could be exposed to it.
Eva Mendes for Calvin Klein
One of the most famous banned fashion ads in the U.S., the Eva Mendes TV commercial for Calvin Klein’s Secret Obsession fragrance was considered too racy for American audiences. Even though every frame is dripping with sexuality, what got the ad banned was a short glimpse of one of Mendes’ nipples.
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Julia Roberts for Lancôme
L’Oreal Paris had has plenty of ads banned in the U.K., but most of them were pulled due to unrealistic claims, not because of more controversial topics. When Julia Roberts was featured in an ad for Lancôme (owned by L’Oreal), there were plenty of complaints about the obvious photoshopping. Since the ad was considered exaggerated and misleading, it was banned from British magazines in 2011.
Diesel Be Stupid
In 2010, Diesel also joined the list of banned fashion ads with two images in their “Be Stupid” campaign. One image featured a model taking a picture of her genitalia with a lion in the background. The even more controversial one featured a different young model climbing a ladder to expose her breasts to a security camera. Both were considered offensive for encouraging anti-social behavior.